Caring for passion flowers — tips for an exotic bloom

Hardly any flower is as exotic and spectacular as that of the passion flower. The climbing plant, which comes from tropical and subtropical regions, fascinates with picturesque flowers that ripen into fruit in good conditions. Hence the name passion fruit. The species known as Maracuja (Passiflora edulis) belongs to the Passifloraceae family and is related to the passion flower. Some of the varieties can be planted in the ground in the garden all year round as hardy passion flowers. Other variants are only partially hardy and need winter protection or frost-free wintering indoors. From May, these ornamental plants can be on the balcony, terrace or in the garden and will delight you well into autumnrich flowers and luxuriant growth.

Worth knowing Location Planting Watering Fertilizing Pruning/Care Overwintering Species Pests & Diseases FAQ

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Interesting facts about the passion flower

Botanical name: Passiflora caerulea, Passiflora incarnata, Passiflora lutea
Other names: passion flower, passion fruit, blue passion flower, purple passion flower, red passion flower
Use: climbing plant, pot plant, balcony plant, hanging plant, house plant
Origin: Central America, South America, West Indies
Flowering period: May to September
Flower colors: violet, white, red, orange, yellow, bicolor, double; varies depending on the variety, usually blue or red
.The individual flowers are sometimes up to 18 cm tall and usually only one or two days old. Sometimes they close at night. The halo surrounded by bracts is striking. Depending on the type, the passion flower should be overwintered outdoors or in a sheltered place. Only some varieties are hardy.

In which location does the Passiflora feel most comfortable?

According to their origin are the demands on sun and heat. A place sheltered from the wind in the garden or on the balcony is ideal. Depending on the species, the Passiflora can be planted in the garden or outdoors as a seasonal plant in summer. The passion flower forms long tendrils with which it can hold on well. Without climbing aids, the growth is rather fluent to hanging. It is important that the location is well drained and rich in humus. In sites with heavy, loamy soil, good soil preparation before planting is important. Use gravel and sand for good drainage. Especially in winter, waterlogging can become a problem.

Gardener’s tip: In pot culture, overwinter in a bright, cool room at 5 to 10 degrees Celsius.


What is the best way to plant my passion flower?


As a houseplant, the Passiflora can be in the house all year round and is repotted into a larger container in early spring every year. A sunny location without drafts is important.

Hardy passionflowers are best planted directly into the ground during spring and summer. As a result, the passiflora is rooted by autumn and delights with a multitude of flowers and long tendrils throughout the summer.

Planting tips

  • Place the pot in a vessel filled with water and submerge the root ball until no more air bubbles rise. This ensures that the plant is sufficiently watered.
  • Dig a planting hole twice the size and depth of the creeper’s root ball.
  • Fill the planting hole with a thin layer of drainage.
  • Repot your Passiflora and place them in the planting hole.
  • Fill the space between the root ball and the planting hole with high-quality potting soil. The pH of the soil should be between 6 and 7.5.
  • Sprinkle organo-mineral fertilizer around the plant and work it lightly into the soil.
  • Press the soil lightly so that the so-called ground contact is created.
  • Water the plant with 3 to 5 liters of water.

Passion flowers as pot plants (annual or perennial) are outdoors from May to September. Ideally, you should repot immediately after purchase, as the culture pot has a limited volume of soil and care for a rooted ball is significantly more intensive. After 2 to 3 years, they are repotted again in March. Choose a container that is 5 to 7 cm larger and has a drainage hole. When repotting, make sure you use high-quality potting soil. This is structurally stable and contains a start fertilization.

How do I water my Passiflora properly?

The special feature requires an even water supply for growth and flowering, which depends on the location, size of the plant, the volume of soil and the temperature. With bucket culture, daily watering is necessary on hot summer days. Specimens planted out in the garden have a better chance of getting water. Therefore, the effort for care is slightly lower here than with culture in pots. Even in the cold season, the substrate in the container must not dry out completely. Depending on the temperature, watering is necessary every 14 days in winter.

How do I properly fertilize my passion flower?

Specimens planted in the ground receive a dose of organic natural fertilizer before they sprout. This purely organic special fertilizer is slowly becoming available and thus ensures an optimal nutrient supply for months. This fertilizer can also be used for fruit, it promotes soil life and humus formation is stimulated. A second fertilization of the Passiflora takes place in early summer, no later than the end of July. If nutrients are added too late, the frost hardiness is reduced in winter.

As a climbing plant in the container, continuous fertilizing with liquid flower fertilizer with guano is recommended. In addition to the most important nutrients, this special fertilizer contains revitalizing humic substances, which particularly promote the formation of flowers.

How do I properly cut and care for Passiflora?

Basically, a cut is not necessary. You can either attach long shoots to a trellis or let them grow vertically. You can remove about a third of the leaf mass on potted plants before putting them into winter quarters. Planted specimens are pruned after winter. To do this, cut off the weak shoots and thin out the branches that are too dense. The flowers form on the annual shoots, so pruning is beneficial for the shape. During the summer, pruning can limit shoot length.

As a climbing plant, the species is easy to care for and can easily twine around anything. Rods, trellises or pergolas are possible as supports. Hardy passion flowers are also suitable as facade greening. Apart from regular watering and fertilizing, no further care measures are necessary. In the fall, a layer of well-rotted compost can be applied as winter protection.

Knowledge fact:Passiflora are well tolerated by pruning. Pruning doesn’t significantly affect branching, so it’s only a maintenance measure if you want to limit growth.


How are passiflora overwintered?

In mild regions, hardy passionflowers can be left outside without any problems. They are frost hardy in large pots or planted out in the ground. Note that the different species have different winter hardiness. In colder regions, good winter protection with fleece, reed mats and other materials is recommended. The trees and shrubs suffer particularly in the case of permafrost and direct sunlight. Therefore, when protecting the plant, it is not only important to protect the roots, but also the shoots with the leaves that are sometimes still present. Specimens in pots are placed in a bright place in good time and kept permanently at temperatures between 5 and 10 °C. Please do not overwinter in dark places and the root ballkeep evenly moist. From March the temperature can be increased and gradually acclimated to outdoor conditions from the end of April on frost-free days.

What pests and diseases can passion flower species get?

With optimal conditions and good care, the climbing plants are robust and hardly susceptible. However, the following pests can occur:


Especially in phases with less light, low humidity and restricted growth, Passiflora are more susceptible to aphid infestation. Check the leaves in the winter quarters regularly for animal pests. Rinse the plants thoroughly with water at the first infestation — this measure usually helps. Natural plant strengtheners help the plant grow stronger tissue that is less likely to be attacked by sucking insects.

spider mites

Especially plants with often dry root balls are attacked by spider mites. The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. It is usually sufficient to spray the plants with a hose and treat them with plant strengtheners. These bio-active agents contain natural plant extracts that revitalize the plant and make care easy.




FAQ — Frequently Asked Questions

How does Passiflora reproduce?

The genus Passiflora can be easily propagated by cuttings. The best time for this is April and May. Use a knife to take cuttings from growing plants. The head cuttings root optimally in propagation trays or in a propagation set with a transparent cover. It is important that the substrate never dries out until rooting, but is not too damp and is protected from the blazing sun. The exotic plants with the beautiful flowers can also be propagated by sowing. There are over 100 seeds in one fruit. The ability to germinate varies greatly, some types require heat before they germinate.

Why are my plants producing so few flowers?

As with other species, the lack of flowers is usually the result of a wrong location. Especially if the beauty is too shady, it can happen that there are no flowers. In addition, young specimens also flower less than older ones. A dormant phase in winter is also conducive to the formation of flowers. If the plant was too warm, it tends to become lazy.

Are all passionflower plants hardy?

Winter hardiness depends mainly on the species. Passiflora violacea, Passiflora vitifolia and Passiflora edulis are not hardy and must be brought indoors before the first frost. They are easy to overwinter and delight with large, striking flowers for many years. Passiflora edulis forms edible fruits and is also known as passion fruit.

Do all Passiflora species produce fruit?

In principle, all members of the large plant family produce fruit. However, only part is edible and aromatic. All fruits have a large number of seeds inside.

What does the name Maypop mean?

Especially in the USA, the flesh-colored passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) is called maypop. Native to the southeastern United States, the variety has edible fruit and is hardy. In general, Passiflora incarnata is the best-studied species. In homeopathy, the effect of the green herb is valued because of the high concentration of flavonoids it contains.


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